Peyton Manning will make his debut for the Denver Broncos on the first Sunday of the 2012 National Football League season in a nationally telecast game against Pittsburgh, the NFL announced.
The complete 2012 season schedule was revealed on Tuesday, with the previously announced opener being on September 5 with the reigning Super Bowl champion New York Giants playing host to the Dallas Cowboys.
Manning was released by the Indianapolis Colts last month after missing the entire 2011 season following neck surgery and signed with the Broncos, who last won the Super Bowl in 1998 and 1999 with John Elway guiding the attack.
Manning will open against a Steelers defensive unit that ranked first overall in the NFL last year and were also the best in the league against the pass.
"There will be a lot of attention paid to Peyton Manning's first game with the Denver Broncos, so it will be exciting to start out that way," Steelers president Art Rooney said.
The Broncos ended Pittsburgh's season last January when Tim Tebow, since traded to the New York Jets, threw an 80-yard touchdown pass to Demaryius Thomas on the first play from scrimmage in over-time of their playoff opener.
Denver will visit Atlanta for a Monday night nationally telecast game in week two, followed by home dates against Houston and Oakland before a visit to the New England Patriots in week five and another Monday nighter in week six at San Diego.
"It's a real test when you go on the road for a Monday night game to open the season," Chargers coach Norv Turner said.
The NFL will stage two games beyond the US borders next season, with the St. Louis Rams meeting the New England Patriots on October 28 at Wembley Stadium in London and Buffalo playing host to Seattle on December 16 at Toronto.
For the first time, the NFL will stage 14 games on Thursday nights, starting in the second week of the campaign with Chicago at Green Bay.
Games on the US Thanksgiving holiday, November 22, feature Washington at Dallas, Houston at Detroit and New England at the Jets.
The NFL playoffs begin January 5, 2013 with the champion being decided at the Super Bowl on February 3 at New Orleans.
Source: AFP Global Edition